So, I’m trawling through the maelstrom that constitutes my Facebook newsfeed (read: cat videos and the usual drunken debauchery) and a little gem pops into view. Someone has liked a link to an article entitled ‘A Response to Feminism’. Being the hard-working student that I am, I instantly seize upon the opportunity for a little light procrastination. It’s worth the look, and ofc in the best Vagenda tradition I now implore ye to read it, read it, and SEETHE. For this is drivel of the highest calibre, and requires a thorough dismantling. Hold onto your vagina-shaped hats.
Why the wanton aggression towards work by our woman Melissa Bond, a proud ‘student turned intern with strong opinions and Tory tendencies’?* Well, me hearties, where on earth do I begin? She starts by passionately imploring us to reject the ‘special treatment’ that feminism as a movement demands. She is most certainly not a feminist, if you don’t mind, because ‘the thought of being separated from my floral dresses physically pains me’ – PLUS her boyfriend doesn’t go prancing around in lady-garments himself, at least she doesn’t think so, tee hee! There ya go: men and women are different, you see. No shit, Sherlock – as far as I know I have two X chromosomes and zero balls, but if I want to stump about in trousers or a man’s coat I can. Why the hell do sartorial decisions kick off this writer’s call to reject feminism? Cue much head-scratching and facial contortion, because I just don’t know, guys. Gals. Whatever. Fear not – it gets more interesting.
According to MelBo, your typical ‘Angry Feminist’ would ‘tell me that all women are beautiful on the inside, so why cling to the patriarchal entrapments of superficial or aesthetic beauty?’ Moving swiftly on from this dash of insight, we then approach the thorny issue of how ‘Angry Feminists’ (I am actually getting pretty angry) steamroller their way through polite society. Those Angry Feminists’ ability to find sexism in almost every facet of life is actually rather incredible. ‘A man holds the door open for a woman? “How patronising!” How polite… A man tells a woman she looks nice? “Objectification!” A compliment…’’’ She then concedes that this may be a ‘slight exaggeration’. I don’t know, Mel, it looks more like a bloody massive straw (wo)man to me.
Our leading lady continues: ‘I would question one’s need to subscribe to feminism at all. Surely anyone with an ounce of common sense can appreciate the fact that men and women are both different and equal and treat them accordingly?’ – what a good question! Let’s check Wikipedia (look, I’m a student. What other point of reference do you expect me to have?) to see what exactly one is subscribing to. Apparently, feminism is defined as ‘a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women’. Shocker. Why then, MB, is identifying as a feminist such a dodgy prospect? In case there is doubt regarding the validity of the great ’n noble Wiki, let’s check the Oxford dictionary as an alternative. Feminism is ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.’ Righty-ho.
Our author’s proud proclamation that she is not a feminist seems a bit unconvincing here. I mean she didn’t get the chance to air her self-defined ‘strong opinions’ without a bit of feminism going down in the background, after all. There is a glimmer of hope, however, as appaza ‘difference feminism’ is a thing, a healthy alternative to all the fury and bra-burning the rest of us degenerates favour. A quick search for what this actually involves reveals a bucket-load of utter tripe, including the idea that men and women differ in moral reasoning. (Um?) Also, it like… still has the word ‘feminism’ in it. Bit of an oversight there for the ‘I am not a feminist’ crew.
Bond’s antipathy towards (the normal, equal kind of) feminism is then clarified in terms of her ‘Tory tendencies’. Unfortunately, this is the point when my poor addled mind nearly shuts down. (Maybe it’s because I am equal, but different, to men, and find political notions taxing, but there you go, life’s a bitch. Or a bastard.) Basically, it transpires that if you are a ‘red’ feminist, you automatically believe that positive discrimination is necessary for ladyfolk to get ahead. Bond’s world is starkly divided into red and blue factions, and if you are ‘red’ you are, well, a bit of a whinger, who uses their sex as an excuse to schlepp through life unwillingly, all the while complaining how unfair everything is. Meanwhile the noble ‘blue’ members of society (read: Thatcher) just get on with it. Proceeding from dark references to political correctness (a notoriously ‘red’ evil after all) MB then evokes a scenario in which ‘women view any setback in the workplace as a direct result of female discrimination, rather than a consequence of their own mistakes’. Gawd almighty, batten down the hatches, the raging red feminists are here to DESTROY SOCIETY WITH THEIR MOANING!
Next up, a bit of sniping at the ‘Lose the Lads’ Mags’ campaign. ‘This is another issue with feminism: it is determined entirely by the feminists themselves.’ (er?) ‘By condemning men’s magazines, aren’t feminists also condemning these women’s aspirations and career choices?…It seems feminists are fine with burning bras, but once the breasts are out, they want those bras safely back on.’ I AM SO CONFUSED BY THIS. Breasts – bras – burning – oppression – help me. MelBo – who I’m increasingly regretting giving a totes affectionate nickname to – cites glamour modelling as the classic bit of fun that The Feminists want to shut down, as they are, after all, humourless harpies. Who are scared of tits. And like to burn bras. And floral dresses (waaa). Which is totes unfair cos like, proper women like to be pretty and sexy, while Feminists do not. Ever. (Put that floral dress down, matey! I see you!) Regarding glamour modelling, incidentally, Bond knows for a fact that ‘the majority of them really enjoy it (I’m looking at you, Katie Price)’. Fair play! – but, erm, is the whole glamour modelling industry represented solely by Jordan?**
We then are treated to a nuanced discussion of Miley Cyrus’ act at the VMAs, followed by a description of how Bond’s BF (the one who doesn’t wear dresses, you’ll remember) was attacked by rabid feminists when he dared try to dance to Blurred Lines on a night out. From her boyfriend’s horrific ordeal she concludes that feminists today are out to censor Thicke and his cronies. Free speech begone! Turns out that peeps of a feminist persuasion are ‘prudish and retrogressive’; furthermore, lobbying attempts are deemed futile. I don’t know if you knew this, dear Vagenda readers, but ‘being a woman does not automatically mean you need your rights defended by feminists, and being a man does not automatically mean you are the dominant sex.’ Fack me, this is deep shit. I think I need a biscuit.
We poor deluded fools needn’t fret, because all that is ‘futile’ in modern British campaigning is henceforth addressed in sage words from our lovely lady. Deep breaths guys: ‘breast-banning and the “Blurred Lines” [boycott] and the banknotes, really do very little to further the cause of feminism worldwide…Feminists need to realise that feminism in the West is never going to be as dramatic a movement as it once was. Thanks to the struggles of feminists before us, we now have a whole host of equality laws in place in the UK: women won the full right to vote in 1928; the Equal Pay Act has been around for 40 years; and the Sex Discrimination Act dates back to 1975.’ Cheers for the legal info, babes. Now I see that we females have actually had it pretty bloody good for years! Should probably stop whining then. And paint myself blue or something. Pity that the 40 year old Equal Pay Act hasn’t quite worked. ‘If men and women have equal rights when it comes to freedom of speech, property, education, employment, voting and healthcare, then what more are UK feminists going to achieve by holding up a whiteboard or boycotting Twitter for a day?’ All becomes clear – we are just so damn petty!
Melissa Bond credits her own professional progress by referencing her old school, which has led the way in promoting women’s success. Why then, is she so keen to dismiss feminism as a movement that is really rather silly, for those who lack simple common sense? Rather a simplistic view, surely. Feminism has made it possible for today’s laydeez, and gentlemen too (EQUALITY KLAXON) to use whichever label they so choose. Even our dear leader D-Cam himself recently backtracked in a rather clumsy admission to Channel 4 that he is, actually, a feminist, really. (FYI, he likes Breaking Bad as well as lady-rights; his TV preference arguably courted more interest than the feminism ‘conversion’. Bit awkward). Having initially recoiled at the ‘poison’** that is feminism, he clarified that if the f-bomb is about supporting equal rights for women (I wearily direct you to the dictionary, Mr Cameron), “then yes. If that is what you mean by feminist, then yes, I am a feminist.” Oh, goody. If Camstar himself can strain his grey matter to reach this conclusion, then surely M-Bond can too. I mean come on, HuffPost. Really. Also, publishing this piece next to the Tequila UK ‘She’s going to get raped’ story probably wasn’t the best editorial decision ever made.
At the end of her article, our heroine mentions that ‘surely the general dogma of feminism is that women can do anything they want as long as they’re freely consenting to it, and not directly harming anyone?’ – well, yes, quite. I think that is the gist. Top bloody marks. Oxygen, someone. In conclusion then, perhaps MB should be calling herself a feminist after all. Here’s a thought, Melbot: perhaps ‘UK feminists’ aren’t being petty, but are trying to address this country’s continuing social imbalance, because right now, there is a still lot more to be flipping done here – not to mention elsewhere in the world.
* if this sounds bitchy y’all, there is a reason for referencing Ms Bond’s politics, because appaza being ‘blue’ makes you a rational homo sapiens and being ‘red’ makes you a hysterical floozy, or something. What larks!! *faints from overexcitement*
** on a limb here but…no?
*** ta to Mrs T